Original article link
When pitching The Host to people, either trying to convince them to read the book or now, see the movie, I usually tell them it's Invasion of the Body Snatchers where the aliens win, but turn out to be nice. The world turns into billions of Jane Bennets (yay! Oh, wait, no, not yay), with only a handful of humans hiding out in fear of being erased by the insertion of “souls” (the human name for the aliens).
Written by Stephenie Meyer (about which more later), adapted and directed by Andrew Niccol (also more later), The Host is a deliberate, sincere film of great beauty and feeling. Not one I think will change many minds about scifi, or make too many waves given the anti-Twilight backlash that is hitting the film hard, but it's one I plan to purchase when it's available for home viewing and happily view many times.
In short, I quite liked, possibly even loved it.( Read more...Collapse )
I've followed the Lizzie Bennet Diaries since the first video - desperately searching out interviews, hints, scraps, to figure out what the scope, intent, and result of the first new Jane Austen adaptation proper in three years would be.
The answer has been: really quite good. Like the BBC's Sherlock, the show has given new life, new perspectives, and above all, a new fandom to Jane Austen's brilliant tale of flaws and forwardness. However, just as Sherlock has created problems both in its source text and its fandom (as anyone who has followed Elementary can attest), I have found myself again frustrated.
It's not that the creators don't love the source material - I really appreciate Ashley Clement's comment about how Pride and Prejudice shows two people who grow morally because of their relationship, rather than just a story of attraction and feelings. Clearly the love of the book she has brought to the part of Lizzie brings with it a deeper appreciation of the story and Austen's quality of narrative.
However, I've thought from the start that the show was more about seeing what kind of narrative you can tell through a webseries, rather than being first and foremost a Jane Austen adaptation. I could be completely wrong - and I don't think that the goal is illegitimate at all. I have been annoyed at some of the changes - but as I recently discovered, I'm a hipster Janeite who thinks that the book is best (I have really appreciated the way Darcy has been realized as a hipster - a fitting touch for an internet-based rendition of the novel).
Like the Sherlock fandom, the LBD fandom has brought a huge influx of fresh, enthusiastic, really enjoyable new fans into the Jane Austen community - similar to the 2005 film and the 1995 film. And like the fans who were upset at the young people trampling on their lawns when those adaptations hit the fandom, I have my own loyalties and prejudices. But on the whole, I think it's really great that as we approach the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, new fans are discovering and loving the story and the book for the first time.
Now, down to brass tacks: some of the things that make me peripheral to the fandom (also known as Unpopular Fandom Opinions, Lizzie Bennet Diaries edition).
I've never been a fan of slash. I admit freely to having some non-canon pairing fics that I've started (but being a horrible fic writer, I never finished them). But as I've grown more acclimated to fandom, I've developed into a generally canon-shipping, genfic-primarily fogey.
Which brings me to the most-often slashed characters (that I've seen): Caroline, Lydia, and Charlotte. While I do really appreciate the attention the series has given each of these characters, I am confused by the way the fandom has embraced them. Interesting, intriguing, completely ficcable - yes, these characters are all that. But Caroline and Lydia especially are deeply morally compromised characters, and I wish there was more acknowledgement of that (by fandom - the creators, while properly finding the humanity and value in all their creations, also clearly understand the self-destructive and cruel tendencies of their characters). Lydia in particular troubles me in the way fandom has embraced her - yes, I do like her antics, but I think that by herself she's more than a little grating ("Enjoy the Adorbs" is perhaps my least favorite episode - Lydia really, really needs someone to play off of or her narcissism makes me want to stop watching - something the creators know, as they've brilliantly played her off of Mary and Jane in her spin offs).
(Side note: I'm little weirded out by the "flawless" label being applied so frequently to Asian women. Maybe it's because I'm in the LBD and Elementary fandoms simultaneously, but it bothers me for some reason.)
Now, I know she's mostly been absent, but I'm also bothered by the lack of love towards my favorite character. That would be the one, the only, the ever charitable Jane Bennet, amazingly played by Laura Spencer (who actually made me break my "Two Broke Girls" no-watching plan to see her cameo :). While Caroline has two episodes on the main channel and gets post after post slashing her with Lizzie or commenting on her flawless hair etc etc, Jane shows up in a major role in Lydia's spin off, and gets barely anything. No, we didn't learn anything new - but Laura Spencer hit it out of the park (and the writing was really quite good). It brought a reality of feeling to Lydia's journey that was sometimes a bit hard to get.
Finally, my last point of contention (and perhaps really my only one, since the others tend to be symptoms of this root): lack of critical distance. This is fandom - we're supposed to be intense and enthusiastic and love and hate - but do we have to do so without engaging our brains? I've never been a huge fan of "liking" something, since it provides a way to contribute without thinking - but so many reaction posts to each episode seem like only a slightly longer version of clicking "like." And without engaging the mind as well as the heart, I feel that we start to lose perspective on the story as a whole.
But, as I said, these opinions are peripheral (not to mention unpopular). Proving yet again that I'm lucky to find things I love - people really don't make them for me.